World Cinema Project 3: Criterion Blu-ray review

... but Lucia (Adela Legra) refuses to be tied down in Humberto Solas' Lucia (1968)

With volume 3 of their World Cinema Project box sets, Criterion has released another treasure trove of largely unknown (in the West) features spanning five decades and six countries, from the Expressionist horror of Mexico’s Dos Monjes (1934) to the Neo-realist horrors of life on Brazil’s streets in Hector Babenco’s Pixote (1980), with stops in between in Indonesia, Iran, Mauritania and Cuba.

Pandemic viewing, Part One

Brigitte Lahaie serves the bloodsucking Count in Jean Rollin's La fiancee de Dracula (2002)

Social isolation and “working from home” mean a lot of time for movie-watching … and the volume far outstrips my ability to say anything substantive about many of the films I do watch: so here I mostly just acknowledge what I’ve been viewing in the past 4-6 weeks. Part one of four.

Recent miscellaneous viewing, part two

Charles Bronson as real-life career criminal Joe Valachi in Terence Young's The Valachi Papers (1972)

More random viewing: two obscure independent films from the BFI, Margaret Tait’s poetic Blue Black Permanent (1992) and Maurice Hatton’s gritty fake-umentary about the film business, Long Shot (1977); and three from Twilight Time – George Sluizer’s interesting Americanization of his existential thriller The Vanishing (1993), Terrence Young’s straightforward fact-based crime saga The Valachi Papers (1972), and D.W. Griffith’s monumental but deeply troubling Birth of a Nation (1915).

Sergei Bondarchuk’s War and Peace (1966-67):
Criterion Blu-ray review

Napoleon surveys the field of battle in Sergei Bondarchuk's War and Peace (1966-67)

Criterion’s two-disk Blu-ray release of Sergei Bondarchuk’s War and Peace showcases a restoration of what may well be the most expensive film ever made. Truly epic in scale, this adaptation of Tolstoy’s revered novel balances awe-inspiring spectacle with emotionally charged character drama. The 7+ hour feature is supplemented with three hours of informative new and archival extras.

Andrei Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev (1966):
Criterion Blu-ray review

Andrei (Anatoliy Solonitsyn) and Theophanes the Greek (Nikolay Sergeev) ponder the artist's place in the world in Andrei Tarkovsky's Andrei Rublev (1966)

Criterion’s new Blu-ray release of Andrei Tarkovsky’s second feature, Andrei Rublev (1966), not only features a superb restoration of the director’s preferred 183-minute cut, but also a (much weaker) transfer of the original 205-minute version and a comprehensive selection of new and archival supplements which cover the production and meaning of this, the greatest of all historical epics.

Twilight Time X 3

Twilight Time has become one of the most notable boutique labels over the past couple of years; with each title limited to 3000 units, collectors feel a sense of urgency with every new release. Available only through the Screen Archives Entertainment website which specializes in movie soundtracks, Twilight Time’s initial focus was on the music, […] Read More